Biblical Purpose of Work:
As servants of Christ, we are called to offer God our professional time. To truly understand how to provide your work-time to God, you need to understand the biblical purpose of your work. The intrinsic purposes for work include working to give, working to grow, and working to guide.
We talked about significance versus success in an earlier chapter. When you see your work as sacred, the goal shifts from finding importance rather than purpose. In finding meaning, you work to give. What can you give of yourself to your workplace? How can you add value to the life of the people around you?
Joseph was placed in the palace to give advice. His wisdom saves Egypt from the famine. The best jobs allow you to provide the best of you. The best jobs will enable you to express yourself. You experience job satisfaction.
Wherever you are, you must seek to give value to the industry you are in. When you are giving an expression of your highest, most creative, and intelligent faculties, then you are contributing to your workplace. No matter your position in your office, if you are giving your best, you are offering something valuable—something that God will find pleasure in. Your offering is a heart issue, more than a position issue.
Growth and Giving
Some jobs are about your growth and not only about giving. How many of you reading this hate your job right now? It will be difficult to hate your job once you have made your shift from sacred to secular, wouldn’t it? However, how many of you hated your job before you made that shift?
Before God sent Moses to rescue Israel from slavery, Egyptians enslaved them. For four hundred years, they were very bitter. What was the picture? The children of Israel were crying from the bitterness of their work. When Moses came to deliver God’s message, the Pharaoh made it worse. He must have said, “Now you’re going to make bricks without straw, just because someone is around you talking about freedom. Now I’m going to show you who’s in charge. You’re going to make bricks without straw.”
Although not literally, the picture of the Israelite suffering can be related to how we suffered in our jobs. It was mental and physical exhaustion. Most people feel like they are trapped in this secular job. It felt as if we were limited and insignificant.
But here’s what God said to them. “When you come out, you will come out with great riches. I will bring you out with great riches.” And I know what most of us think that means. We think it means it’s because they borrowed jewels from their Egyptian neighbors, and they took the jewels into the wilderness. If that’s how we are interpreting this Scripture, then we have missed the point. The riches they came out with were the knowledge and the skillset for building an empire of their own.
You see, what the Pharaoh did not realize is that he had inadvertently taught the art of mason building because they built his treasure cities. So while the Israelites were working at a job, they hated, they were learning a skill set that they could take into a job they would love. So when you are in a toxic working environment that you’re hating, it’s not about, “God, get me out of here!” Instead, it is about “God, what can I learn here because I’m growing in this environment.”
When you look at this job, you cannot help but hate and think about God’s purpose. What is the Boss’ purpose? Why am I here? Think about this: “I’m not going to be here the rest of my life. I am here for the learning, not the earning, but the transferrable skills.”
What came out of Egypt was not a set of enslaved people but a skilled workforce, a task force who had been trained indirectly in the art of mason building. The issue is that you can take the skills sets from this job into another career venture. Sometimes, the purpose of the work is just for growth.
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